For this week’s unique article, I was given the opportunity to interview some of my favourite YouTube personalities; Si, Lee and Ian of SLI Gaming. Starting out last year, the three Liverpudlians have since gone on to produce a great deal of let’s play series’ on YouTube, as well as host their own video game discussion show entitled TalkFace, which I am a huge fan of. In the short space of time following it’s inception, the channel has garnished over 100 subscribers on the back of their extensive gaming knowledge and their brilliant sense of humour. I had a few questions to ask the guys in regards to their opinions of the current state of gaming, about video games development in our home town of Liverpool, and about their most memorable gaming experiences as well as the future of their channel. This is what they had to say:
What has the reception been like toward your YouTube channel so far?
IAN: Very positive and that scares me; we haven’t really experienced any negativity. I tell myself that’s because we are awesome but that’s because I’m very egotistical. It’s probably because the gaming community, despite what outsiders might think are not a bad bunch.
LEE: Mostly positive and supportive. Any negativity has always been in the form of positive criticism from close friends wanting us to improve.
SI: I feel the response to our channel has been good if a little slow. I feel like the hard work is paying off now though.
What can we expect to see on the channel in the near future?
IAN: Hopefully we will be bringing a series looking at older generation games. We have had fun doing it so far; it’s more scripted. Simon and I were watching some footage of our acting and it’s so bad we were laughing our arses off. Other than that just some lets plays of online games like Ark and Elite dangerous.
LEE: I’d like to try some multiplayer gameplay videos, with it being such a big part of games now. Games like Ark, The Division etc more so than FPS titles.
SI: A new retro series and more conventions and expos. I love going to the expos because the gaming community is out in full force.
What do you think of the eighth generation of gaming so far? What have been your favourite games, and what titles are you looking forward to most in 2016?
Ian: I love the current Gen although I don’t like installing games. I think the bridge between publishers and gamers is getting smaller with things like game previews coming to consoles. Efforts by big companies to listen more to the consumers more is appreciated, specifically Microsoft bring backwards compatibility to the Xbox One. Favourite games so far would probably be Fallout 4 and the Witcher 3. I love games with big worlds to explore with plenty to do. I’m looking forward to Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Final Fantasy XV.
Lee: I’m loving this gen, although the jump doesn’t feel as big as last gen in terms of graphics or new experiences we have already seen some solid titles.
Si: I’m loving the new generation of consoles and gaming. The games that I’m looking forward to are the likes of The Division, Deus Ex and Ghost Recon: Wildlands
What did you think of 2015 in gaming?
Ian: 2015 was a great year for gamers; especially the end. A lot of great games were released in quick succession. As someone who loves open world games I have so many games I need to get through, Just Cause 3 was one I was excited for, and I bought it and barely played it.
Lee: 2015 was chock full of games to the point where my pile of shame is almost as big as my… waistline. Titles as big as Fallout 4, Halo V and Star Wars Battlefront all within a few weeks of each other!
Si: 2015 in gaming was an awesome time to be a gamer with some fantastic titles; wait… a lot of fantastic titles. All 3 of us have added more games to our already growing pile of shame.
What are you guys playing at the moment?
Ian: I’m playing Fallout 4 and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate at the moment. If fallout 4 is anything like Skyrim, I’ll be playing it for years. I’m enjoying AC Syndicate so far; it’s a vast improvement on Unity.
Lee: I’m playing a lot of multiplayer games like Ark, Halo, Elite Dangerous and Rainbow Six at the moment, with Fallout 4 taking up any solo time.
Si: Fully committed to Fallout 4 while playing Just Cause 3 and Transformers Devastation. I have Battlefront too but I’ve barely touched it.
What you think of the indie game scene?
Ian: To be honest, I haven’t really been bothering much with indie games this generation. I have enjoyed games like Elite Dangerous if that’s classed as indie. Lee usually lets me know if there’s anything I’d be interested in. Don’t get me wrong I think there’s a lot of talent there; I’m just more of a big epic adventure type guy.
Lee: The Indie scene for me is where some of the best new experiences are coming from, the big studios don’t take the chances the smaller studios do; titles like Space Engineers, No Man’s Sky etc are some of my most anticipated.
Si: loving the indie scene, there’s a fantastic array of retro looking games out there. I’m a big retro fan so anything that throws back to the old days is all good for me.
What do you think the future holds for the industry?
Ian: A lot of innovations in gaming if things like the Oculus Rift catch on. I’ve played Elite Dangerous with the Rift at an expo and the level of immersion is unreal. I think the lines between movies and games will become even more blurred if the viewer can experience it from a point of view that makes them feel like they are actually there.
Lee: I can definitely see games merging with other forms of media; Quantum Break looks to be a title doing just that. It’s been done before but today’s hardware allows for it to work better.
Si: The future of the industry feels like we’re going into a more digital age, so I can see a time where we will have no physical copies, which will be quite sad. I love collecting old games; I spend a lot of time, and sometimes money, to get original boxed carts even though i could download them, so this is something I’m not happy about.
How excited are you guys about the emergence of video game developers based in Liverpool?
Ian: I’d love to see more games come out of Liverpool there is so much creative talent based here. I remember there was a studio called Bizarre Creations who where based in Liverpool. They made Metropolis Street Racer and later Project Gotham Racing, which were both great racing titles.
Lee: Hearing of new developers anywhere is always a good thing, as it means new ideas; you never know when or where the next GTA or Skyrim is going to come from. I think everything is here that you need; we certainly have the talent. Imagine an Assassins Creed based in Liverpool or a World War II based shooter.
Si: Very excited! I remember the good old days of Liverpool based game companies like Traveller’s Tales and Psygnosis. Wipeout was made by a Liverpool studio, I think.
Do you have any advice for aspiring YouTubers?
Ian: Get a good microphone; no one will watch a video with terrible audio and have fun. The best way to learn is to just go for it; you don’t need any particular skills to do this, just a passion for games and a good sense of humour.
Lee: Haha, I’m not sure I’m a YouTuber yet, and I’m definitely not the right person to ask for advice; my motto is “What would Vader do?” But I suppose just enjoy yourself is always good advice, if you don’t enjoy it, no one else will.
Si: Just keep on going. Even if you don’t feel like your getting much traction, no one does in the beginning. More importantly, make sure your enjoying what your doing.
What is it you guys love most about video games?
Ian: Experiencing engrossing storylines and imaginative worlds is the big one for me. There’s nothing like finding a game that just strikes a chord with you and grabs hold of every second of your free time. Gaming is the only media that can really challenge a book in my opinion; you get the set pieces of a movie and the narrative of a novel. The best part is that a really good game makes you feel like it’s down to your decisions and usually shooting skills that save the day.
Lee: It sounds like a cliché, but the escapism is what I love, whether it’s riding a horse through Afghanistan in MGS V or careening round stars in Elite, they are experiences that are only possible in video games. Books and movies come close, but are in no way interactive; not only am I part of a story in games, but it’s my story. I experience it in my own way, and discussing them is part of that. A stand out moment for me in gaming (that I seem to mention far too often) came quite recently in Red Dead Redemption. Crossing into Mexico, I rode up a hill and my horse reared silhouetted against the sun, I thought it was scripted but after discussing it, I found it was unique to me.
Si: I was going to say because it’s like movies and books merged together, but i see the guys have both said that so, I’ll say story. We all love a good story that why Star Wars is so popular; well with games you are the story. Play Mass Effect (or watch us play it), and you will see what i mean.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Si, Lee and Ian for answering my questions, and to wish them the best of luck in the future with their channel, as well as TalkFace. If anyone reading would like to check out their YouTube channel, or their social media pages, links are below: